Gustav Holst’s (1874-1934) “The Planets” is arguably one of the best-known and frequently performed orchestral works of the XXth century. Since its premiere in 1918, it enjoyed triumphant popularity across the world’s concert halls. The suite consists of seven movements, each depicting the natural forces of the planets and reflecting their influence upon the human psychic and emotional states. Notably, the Earth is missing from the suite as composer intended to focus his work exclusively on the astrological concept.
The subject of “The Planets” first attracted Holst’s imagination when he was spending his holiday in Mallorca and met astrologist Clifford Bax. At first, Holst conceived a version for piano duet, and only much later adapted it to the orchestra, since piano could not fulfil the scale of composer’s creative ambition. Eventually, the organ replaced the piano in the ultimate movement – Neptune, the Mystic – contributing to the intended enigmatic character. “The Planets” is widely regarded as a predecessor to film music: its rich and skilful orchestration continues to influence and inspire new generations of composers. “The Planets” encapsulated some of the core musical influences of the time – Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schönberg as well as late Russian romantics, such as Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov.
Lithuanian Wind Orchestra “Trimitas” were first to perform the Lithuanian premiere of Merlin Patterson’s arrangement of “The Planets”. Video artist Džiugas Katinas and light designer Rimas Petrauskas complemented the performance with original video projections and lighting, enhancing the auditory experience. Young and aspiring Lithuanian conductor Karolis Variakojis – a graduate of prof. Juozas Domarkas conducting class, artistic director and co-founder of the contemporary music ensemble “Synaesthesis” – conducted the premiere, which took place on November 6, 2020. In the unfortunate eventuality of the global pandemic, which coincided with the scheduled concert, an unexpected immersive solution awaited the audience – dispersed orchestral musicians occupied the hall, whilst the audience were seated on stage.
Gustav Holst, “The Planets” (arr. Merlin Patterson) – premiere 06/11/2020
Mars, the Bringer of War
Venus, the Bringer of Peace
Mercury, the Winged Messenger
Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
Uranus, the Magician
Neptune, the Mystic
Lithuanian Wind Orchestra “Trimitas”
Karolis Variakojis, conductor
Džiugas Katinas, video artist
Rimas Petrauskas, light design
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